Theoretical statements involving autogynephilia are a rather different matter. I have, at one time or another, advanced several of these, for example:Ray Blanchard, Origins of the Concept of Autogynephilia
1. All gender-dysphoric biological males who are not homosexual (erotically aroused by other males) are instead autogynephilic (erotically aroused by the thought or image of themselves as females).
2. Autogynephilia does not occur in women, that is, biological females are not sexually aroused by the simple thought of possessing breasts or vulvas.
3. The desire of some autogynephilic males for sex reassignment surgery represents a form of bonding to the love-object and is analogous to the desire of heterosexual men to marry wives and the desire of homosexual men to establish permanent relationships with male partners.
4. Autogynephilia is a misdirected type of heterosexual impulse, which arises in association with normal heterosexuality but also competes with it.
5. Autogynephilia is simply one example of a larger class of sexual variations that result from developmental errors of erotic target localization.
In other publications, Blanchard has described it as a "paraphilia" - thus in the same class as paedophilia, necrophilia and other paraphilias.
I wrote an accurate though rather scathing description of Autogynephilia in a previous post:
Now the main competing theory is AGP (AutoGynePhilia) theory, a theory based in the Freudian concept that every single human motivation is sexual in nature. In AGP theory, the early transitioners are really gay boys who want to have sex with straight men. The late transitioners have a paraphilia, a fetish, that makes them want to have female bodies based on misdirected male sexual urges (Autogynephilia). This last is associated with talents for the military, computer science, or the creative arts for reasons unknown, and the neurological evidence is swept under the carpet as an irrelevant, unexplained phenomenon based on dubious evidence. As for FtoMs, they're all inexplicable and may not even exist. Any testimony by any TS women which contradicts this is a lie, and they must all be pathological liars as so many of them contradict it.This is what AGP theory genuinely means in practice.
All men are heterosexual, gay, or liars too, bisexuality doesn't exist in men, those who say they're bisexual are gay. Except in transsexuals, where those claiming to be bisexual have to actually be non-gay to make it all work. And women are all bisexual. The evidence that many late transitioning women end up being androphillic is ignored as an unexplained phenomenon, or maybe they're just lying.
It is a basic building block of the theory that any expression of a transsexual woman's desire to have a female body for anything other than being able to attract men for sex is seen as a misdirected male sexual urge. Because if you gave cis-sexual women the questionnaire to detect autogynephilia in transsexual women, their answers would be completely different.
For some reason... this was not done. It was left till later. As Blanchard said:
All or none of the foregoing propositions may be true, false, or something in between. Their accuracy is an empirical question that can be resolved only by further research.So those Transsexual women who had never felt the slightest trace of sexual excitement from the thought of having a male body, and indeed whose sexual thoughts relied on them having a female one, were regarded as paraphiliacs. This did not please them. Rather, they thought that if they had been sexually aroused at the thought of having a male body, they wouldn't be women. So it was a no-win situation for them, either way, they were regarded as male, regardless of their feelings. Many expressed their displeasure (actually "outrage" would be closer) in rather forceful, even pungent terms - being arrogantly informed that you're a sexually deviant male will cause that in any woman. Many just drew attention to the various inconsistencies of the theory. Ones you could drive a truck, several goods trains, and a complete Panzer division through, in line abreast. And quite a few were rather upset that one of the most easy tests of the theory, giving the same questionnaire to other women, had not been performed.
We now have the further research that Ray Blanchard mentioned. The test of his theory that this was a misdirected male sexual urge that he never got around to doing.
Autogynephilia, an erotic interest in the thought or image of oneself as a woman, has been described as a sexual interest of some male-to-female transsexuals (MTFs); the term has not been applied to natal women. To test the possibility that natal women also experience autogynephilia, an Autogynephilia Scale for Women (ASW) was created from items used to categorize MTFs as autogynephilic in other studies. A questionnaire which included the ASW was distributed to a sample of 51 professional women employed at an urban hospital, 29 completed questionnaires were returned for analysis. By the common definition of ever having erotic arousal to the thought or image of oneself as a woman, 93% of the respondents would be classified as autogynephilic. Using a more rigorous definition of “frequent” arousal to multiple items, 28% would be classified as autogynephilic. The implications of these findings are discussed concerning the sexuality of women and the meaning of autogynephilia for MTFs.Autogynephilia in Women. Moser, C. Journal of Homosexuality (in press).
Ah. Well, that's no surprise to transsexual women. My bet though is that the sample size will be regarded as too small, that autogynephilia in cisgendered women isn't proven to be the same as in transgendered women, etc etc. All valid criticisms, by the way. But the until now uncritically accepted assumptions inherent in AGP theory - well, uncritically accepted by much of the psychiatric establishment, even if the endocrinologists and neurologists think it's arrant nonsense - well, they're open to some question now.
The competing theories can be summarised as follows:
The neurological theory states that gender is between the ears, and gender identity usually crystallises as the result of pre-determined neurologically determined tendencies and biases in sexually dimorphic emotional response and (to a lesser degree) sexually dimorphic thought processes.
That such atypical neurological development is causal in various other observed phenomena, such as TS women tending to have increased creativity, natural talent in certain professional areas, notably computer and military science.
That the reason there appears to be 2 distinct types, one young and boy-crazy, and one older and having greater fluidity in sexual orientation, is because young girls of all kinds, transsexual or cissexual, also tend to be boy crazy compared to older women.
And the reason older TS women tend to like the idea of having a female body, not necessarily to attract a man, is because all women tend to like the idea of having a female body, not because of some misdirected male sexual urge.
Finally, that cross-gendered neurology can affect both sexes, and although the details differ, the underlying etiology is the same, just mirror-imaged.
The AGP theory is agnostic about formation of Gender Identity. Men are Men, Women are Women, that's it. Don't ask why or how.
It dismisses the neurological evidence as mere coincidence, an artefact of low sample sizes. More than the sample sizes used in formulating AGP theory by now, but still not adequate for definite proof.
Transsexual women are not women at all. They are either young, homosexual boys who want to get other boys into bed, even if it means losing their manhood, or mentally deranged older men with misdirected sexual impulses causing them to want their bodies to be female. Such misdirected sexual impulses are associated with certain professions, for reasons unknown.
The observation that cissexual women appear to have exactly the same desire for their bodies to be female as transsexual women is an artefact of small sample sizes, or a completely different phenomenon that coincidentally looks exactly the same.
And as for transsexual men? They're not explained at all, and may not exist.
When looked at that way - we can legitimately ask the question "Why has ANYONE treated this hypothesis seriously???" I think the answer is that there has been an unspoken axiom: that transsexual women are actually men. And all facts and evidence has to be interpreted in that light, no matter what intellectual convolutions it entails.
A few studies on homosexual males (19)(20) raise the possibility that transsexualism might, at the neuroanatomic level, literally represent a type of intersexuality.-The case for and against publicly funded transsexual surgery(PDF)
Such a conclusion would certainly change the complexion of the nosological debate. One might then ask who is more delusional – the transsexuals who claim they are “women trapped in men’s bodies” or the person who continues to insist they are not. At
present, however, the empirical data are lacking to decide this matter one way or the other.
Ray Blanchard, Ph.D Psychiatric Rounds 2000 V4 Issue 2
19. Allen LS, Gorski RA. Sexual orientation and the size of the anterior commissure
in the human brain. Proc Natl Acad Scien USA, 1992;89:7199-7202.
20. LeVay S. A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and
homosexual men. Science 1991;253:1034-1037.
Even then, the work of Gooren et al on Transsexual women - not Gay Men - had been known about for 5 years.
Zhou JN, Hofman MA, Gooren LJ, Swaab DF. A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality. Nature (1995) 378:68–70.
But if it was imperative that Transsexual women be regarded as men, that couldn't be used. Since then there has been a veritable mountain of evidence gathered of course. Ignoring it is getting increasingly difficult. But I have a feeling that they'll manage it, as Ray Blanchard is on the committee revising the DSM - the diagnostic standard manual for psychiatrists - and so just as autogynephilia as a mental disorder has been discredited, it will probably be listed there, as a paraphilia that only men with gender identity disorder suffer.